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Color and art journals

by aisling d'art ©2006



Color choices can make all the difference in your art journal, and especially in a travel journal.

No matter what medium you work in--photography, watercolors, drawing, collage, or mixed media--your color choices are important, and certain guidelines apply.

Color wheels used to put me to sleep. Red + yellow = orange. Blue + red = purple. Yawn.

But, once I read Color Choices: Making Color Sense Out of Color Theory and started experimenting with it, I became more interested in color theory. I wanted to play with it, and see what effects I could create... what emotions could be revealed or even highlighted by color.

And, in travel journals, color can convey the mood of a place, as well as the temperature, its age, and more.

Artists often talk about "the importance of the moment" when painting a landscape. That's how it is with travel journaling, too.

But, when you're on the road and have just 20 minutes to capture a scene in your journal, color can be the most significant element, after a sketch that represents (at least vaguely) the most important landmarks.

Color and emotions

Consider colors that convey emotions to you. I don't mean the simplistic "red = anger"... or is it "red = love"?

For me, red is passion... which could be anger, love, or even some kinds of enthusiasm.

For "happily ever after" love, the colors would be red, pink, and white.

Anger would be reds... lots of different reds, especially if they don't quite go together, like magenta and scarlet and baby doll pink. (What about the idea that redheads shouldn't wear the color red?)

Then there's purple... what is purple for you? Royalty? Easter? An accent color at Halloween?

Usually, the impact isn't as much from the single color but how you combine your colors. That's what we'll talk about in my upcoming class. (See below.)

Color in your personal journals

monochromatic image in art journal

Click on the image above to see my torn-paper collage. See how your eye is drawn to the small area of different color in a collage that's mostly monochromatic green?

Compare that with this next collage, which uses a variety of colors. Your eye keeps moving around the collage, looking for a place to land.

july 2004 art journal collage

That's just one way to use color to create different visual effects... in addition to the emotional impact of the images and colors themselves. There are many other ways to combine colors.

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